Iomega’s original ScreenPlay Pro network media player was a bit of a mixed bag. It had very good connectivity features, including a video input option that allowed it to capture video as well as simply playing audio and video files that were already stored on it. However, it was let down by its inability to play H.264 video – …
Close, but no cigar
Can I have this with no hard-disk and wi-fi please?
With no WiFi its useless!
My TV is not next to my PC networtk! if it were I'd plug the tv into the computer!
My TV is downstairs away from all Networking devices.
Even Nintendo remembered to put wireless into the Wii 2 years ago!!
Suerely Iomega would have cottoned on by now??
wheres the steaming turd icon?
Folks - first let me say I love the Reg, and most of the reviews here are both entertaining and informative. But while the entertainment aspect is great - I think you need to beef up the information level in your reviews. In particular, if you are reviewing a specific class of product - like a media streamer - it might be good to stick to the same person, so that he or she can build up a level of experience, and perhaps check out AV forums for that type of product to see what the users are saying.
Cliff, it looks like you haven't done many media streamer reviews (hey - we all have to start somewhere). Not sure where to begin on the long list of things that people need to know about these boxes, but a few things spring to mind:
- How long does the box take to boot? We are continually told to switch electrical products off when they are not in use so cold boot time becomes a critical useability feature.
- There are two recurring features that are demanded by users of the Western Digital and other similar media streamers (with and without internal hard drives). First is the ability to create a shortcut to a designated network share (this is a huge missing feature in many devices). Second is the ability to proportionately fast forward through a movie (check the Popcornhour feature where you can go to X% of the movie by pressing the number keys). So does the Iomega have either of these?
- You mention that the unit "made hardly any noise". Hmm. Forgive me, but that is not a very useful comment. I'm sure the manufacturer publishes the noise level in dB so we could compare it to other reviews. Also - I'm guessing you reviewed this at home. Is this a quiet environment where even a tiny cooling fan sounds loud? Or a noisy flat next to a busy road? I know this seems pedantic, but HD movies with high quality soundtracks tend to have a huge audio range - everything from explosions to almost total silence. And in the latter situation the last thing you need is a noisy hard drive, or even worse a cooling fan starting up. So some idea of the steady state noise (mainly caused by the hard drive) versus peak noise (cooling fan) would be great.
- You mentioned that the interface is not as graphically pleasing as the Apple TV. Fair comment. But does that mean it is more responsive? A big complaint in the media streamer forums is the sluggish way that the user interface behaves. Eye candy is a novelty that soon wears off. A responsive UI is a genuine, and highly valued feature.
- Remotes can be very directional. So in other words, the unit only sees the command if you are directly pointing at it. What is the situation with the Iomega?
- On the topic of remotes - nobody (almost) who own boxes like this uses the out of the box remote. I think I'm right in saying that the de facto "all in one" remote is the Logitech Harmony series. So you need to provide two usability reviews - one using the in-box remote, and one using the Harmony.
Generally I would say that the Reg needs to become more systematic in the review of media streamers, and other types of gadget, so that different reviews could be compared more easily.
Stepping away from the soapbox now :-)
Looks good, but it's a shame it's lost the ability to record.
Mac users would be much better leaving the drive as NTFS (avoiding problems with large files and Fat32) and installing MacFUSE (Free download) to give read / write access to the drive - as well as any other windows NTFS drives they may use.
What DLNA things does it do?
Unfortunately DLNA is a spec with so many options, it doesn't mean anything!
Can this device be controlled from another device (e.g. using the media app on my iPod to select a video file on my DLNA server and get this thing to play it).
How well does it work as a network controlled player? How well does it work as a server?
For you "Bah humbug it doesn't have WiFi" people - you can plug the Iomega WiFi USB dongle into it for WiFi. (Although unless you sit it within 2cm of your WiFi access point, I'm not sure you could guarantee the throughput for HD video - you might as well use wires!!)
Why have this...
...when you can just fit an extra drive to your PC and run MythTV or whatever?
Even if your TV is located away from the network (unlikely in an average, but easily solved with a bit of drill-time) and small form-factor PC acting as a media client may well work out cheaper and better.
To me this just looks like an over-rpiced hard drive and yet another remote control to use.
Media Center (sic) Extender?
Media Center Extender support would be handy... Just my opinion on that one, but Vista/7 Media Center has become an incredibly popular HTPC base so it may increase their market.
As to wireless I can appreciate many consumers use exclusively wireless networking. But I'm surprised so many people here don't wire up their homes! Even 10 years ago as a student we had a 10/100 network in our rented flat, tucking the cables into the edges of the carpet.
I Googled for a bit if this thing would do Netflix or Amazon.. It doesn't seem to. Why don't manufactures of these little boxes add internet streaming support.??? How can a Blue-Ray player manage, however, all these little boxes -- now priced at some of the middle range blue-ray players that can do DLNA along with Netflix/Amazon movie/TV show streaming -- can't? This is yet another box that will stay plugged in sipping electrons, and get used rarely because I'm using the Blue-ray player, or the Roxio player to watch streaming movies/tv shows or now this to watch my collection of ripped DVDs or listen to music...
After reading this review, I'll stick with my WDTV (generation 1) player. A painless replacement of the firmware with a hacked version and I have USB Hub and ethernet access (so I don't need to upgrade to the "WDTV Live" either). With 5x1TB HDDs hooked up to the Hub, plus access to my network shares (and UPnP with the hacked firmware) who needs YouTube, etc... I'll install something like MythTV on one of my servers if I ever feel the need.
Oh, and it's completely quiet - no moving parts.
But can it be hacked?
The hardware sounds OK, but what OS does it run by default and can be hacked/replaced?
P.S. What happened to my original account and handle?
Your original account and handler were hacked/replaced
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